Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Crafty Bastards is this Saturday!

It's coming! I can hardly believe it! I should know by the aches in my hands and the lack of chitter chatter from my crafty friends, but it really just hit me that tomorrow is October, and that means Crafty Bastards is this Saturday!

I'm so excited to shop the wares of some of the finest crafty wares by some of the coolest crafty people in the country. Plus, your local favorites will be there as well! Including tigerlilly shop, sweet pepita, jennyjen 42, beth pohlman, the broken plate, dandelion blu, block party press, biggs and featherbelle, carlybird weaves, cotton monster, jaime zollars, red prairie press, pistol stitched, spaghetti kiss, the garbologist's wife, tlane, and me, the littlest bean!

Get the most up to date information on the Crafty Bastards blog.

Now in its 6th year, Crafty Bastards is an exhibition and sale of handmade alternative arts and crafts from independent artists presented by the Washington City Paper. The fair is all-day, outdoors, free to attend, and will offer goods for sale, food, entertainment, prizes, and more! Crafty Bastards will take place Saturday, October 3, 2009 in Washington, DC. Click here for a map.

See you there!

Support Your Libraries!

image by Christopher Busta-Peck

You might have heard the recent furor about the library system in Philadelphia. While the state was unable to pass a budget, the libraries became the victim – the “Doomsday” plan would have laid off 3,000 city employees and closed the entire Philadelphia library system. While this scenario was thankfully averted by the passage of Bill 1828 just in time, it made for a timely reminder that libraries are vital to our social, economic, and educational life. If you’re looking for someplace to explore – with your family or without – consider checking out your local library. Baltimore’s libraries are full of exciting events, resources, and people.

I’m a Baltimore County girl, and I’ve got major love for the Catonsville library. It reminds me of the small-town, community-centered library I grew up going to with my dad. In addition to a startlingly wide selection of books – not to mention the Baltimore County Library system’s awesome hold and transfer system – the Catonsville branch offers book clubs, seminars, kids’ events, and a great Maryland History section (made even more intriguing by its location smack in the middle of the historic area of Catonsville).

I’ll also confess to a love of the county library’s headquarters, the intimidatingly huge Towson library. They have EVERYTHING, and a cool building (the rotunda, pictured above, is inspired by the Guggenheim Museum) to boot! The Enoch Pratt main branch, in the Baltimore City library system, is another amazing library – if you’ve never been, it’s absolutely a Baltimore sight worth checking out. Take the kids!

What’s your favorite library?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Ten Question Tuesday - Girls Can Tell

Hello! Who are you? Give us the 411 about yourself.
hello, hello! i'm sara, and i run girlscantell. in a nutshell, i spend my days diagramming everyday machines - like bikes, cameras, kitchen aid mixers, pinball machines and lots more - and then i make them into silkscreens. then i screenprint all these diagrams onto useful things, like placemats, hand towels, notebooks, tote bags and just about anything else you could imagine. i grew up in central new jersey, went to school at the university of virgina and live in south philadelphia, where i bought a house a few years ago. and i have a puppy. sometimes i wonder if my puppy's actually an alien.

When/how did you start your business?
i started my business way back in the day when i was working as an architectural underling (when i lived and breathed autocad). it was a much needed creative outlet. i was always doodling little diagrams of the things around me, and a friend began to teach me how to screenprint, and i immediately loved that process.

when i discovered etsy back in 2005, i loved it because it allowed me to daydream about supporting myself through what i loved doing. in spring 2007, rob kalin to hire me to run the etsy teams program. for the next 18 months, i gave working on the etsy team program everything i had. though i no longer work for etsy, i still believe that the very spirit of etsy teams is what makes etsy amazing.

the best thing about working at etsy was really soaking in all the knowledge floating around out there about how to really build a successful, creative small business. being surrounded by such amazing work all the time was so completely inspiring. when etsy eliminated my position during the holiday season in 2008, working on girlscantell full time seemed only natural.

Apart from creating things, what do you do?
i admittedly watch too much tv and movies lately. i also participate very actively in my neighborhood association, i enjoy trying lots of different craft beers - philly's the best beer city!, and for the past few months, i've been working on curating a bike themed craft boutique at the annual bike part art show, a charity event here in philly that benefits the neighborhood bike works.

What first made you want to become an artist?
well, when i was little, my parents told me if i went to art school, they'd break all my fingers. they both went to art school and, long story short, they're both working in totally unrelated fields now - they didn't want to see me go through such difficulties, professionally. so the joke in the family is that i basically tricked them by going to school for architecture. but really i just took as many studio / art classes as i could.

What inspires you?
really intricate drawings, ikea furniture instructions, old architectural floorplans and, well, the internet.

What's your favorite thing about your craft?
i like that the easily reproducible nature of screenprinting allows me to sell art at very accessible prices. and i like knowing there are all sorts of things that i've printed with my drawings on them being worn, used and toted around, all over the world. how amazing is that?

Where would we most likely find you working?
i have a shared studio space in chinatown, in a large warehouse full of galleries and artist work space. renting space here is one of the best decisions i've made for my business.

What's your favorite music to listen to while you work?
my boyfriend always teases me that i only ever listen to the same five or so albums, so i guess i'm pretty predictable. i tend to favor the mates of state, the new pornographers, matt and kim, she and him and, of course, spoon when i'm working. (and yes, girlscantell is named after that spoon album. it's my favorite.)

What's your favorite thing right now?
mmmm.... autumn beers. and making bagels from scratch.

If you could have one wish granted for the craft community, what would it be?

oh, this is a hard one! but i wish people would stop underpricing and undervaluing handmade. undercutting prices of people who make things for a living hurts everyone.

See more of Sara's amazing work in her shop, or at Crafty Bastards this weekend!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Date Night with the Jellies

Looking to do something different on your next date night? How about hanging out with the jellyfish? The Baltimore National Aquarium is having “An Evening with the Jellies” date night on October 1st. This will be an opportunity to see the Invasion of the Jellyfish exhibit. They suggest coming as a couple or with a group of friends for an evening of music, appetizers, and wine in a soothing, after-hours atmosphere at the Aquarium. You must be 21 or older to attend.

The hours are 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm. For reservation and pricing information visit their website.

Image by Arun Sundar

Please Vote!

We are SO honored to be nominated for a 2009 Mobbie Award for Outstanding Art & DIY blog in Baltimore! As awesome as it is to be nominated, it would be 1000 times more awesome if you would take a minute (really, only 20 seconds) to vote for us. We work really hard to bring you all that is awesome in Baltimore Craft and beyond and would be super excited to win. Thanks Baltimore Sun!!

Favorite Etsy Shop: Feral Goat

There's no question that I have a soft spot for the Midwest. I love the cornfields that dot the landscape, sparkling lakes, the way life crawls at a slower pace, deep dish pizza, and my sweet husband that I snatched up all the way out here in Baltimore. Being a girl from Indiana, I light up when America's heartland is mentioned. When I found Feral Goat's etsy shop, I was smitten.

Katie Scully's photography immediately takes me back to the greatness of the Windy City and it's outlying areas. Here she catches the vastness of Lake Michigan.

I romanticize the frigid winters now that I don't have to deal with them on a regular basis. This photograph makes me crave a brutally cold afternoon, followed by a mug of hot cocoa.

And the grittiness of the "L". How I love it so.

Written by Monica of Sugar Paperie

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Brian's Grandma's Crab Cake Recipe

Some recipes should never be changed; this crab cake recipe is one of them. I make them at least once a month and felt the need to share them with you.

Thanks to Brian’s Grandma!

You will need:

1 beaten egg
1 heaping tablespoon mayo
1 heaping tablespoon dry mustard
3 crackers crushed into crumbs
1 teaspoon Worchester sauce
½ teaspoon lemon juice
1lb. crab

1. Preheat Broiler

2. Mix all but crab

3. Pour mixture over crab meat

4. Mix together

5. Make ice cream scoop size cakes

6. Place in broiler

7. Pour melted butter on cakes as the broil

8. Enjoy!

Written by: Juliet of The Broken Plate

Friday, September 25, 2009

Let's Go Out!

What I'd wear to lunch on a rainy day...

This rain coat from Hogethog.

This dress by Carolhannah

This necklace by Bakerswife

These sandals from Jessjamesjake

With one of my new cocktail rings!

Written by: Jen of Yummy and Company

Thursday, September 24, 2009

This Weekend - Charm City Kitty Club

The Charm City Kitty Club always puts on an amazing show, inviting exceptional talent from far and near to perform at the Creative Alliance three times a year. The next show, Friday and Saturday October 2-3, 2009, is sure to be another incredible queer experience.

The mission statement,the CCKC sets out to carve a unique social and cultural niche for lesbian, dyke, bisexual, transgender, transsexual and genderqueer individuals as well as our allies, pretty much sums up the wonderful mixture of people that put on and participate in the performances. Don’t miss the next kitty show!

For more info visit

Maryland Microbrewery Festival

image by mfajardo

Come out and see BEST’s own CEK Custom Designs at the 4th annual Maryland Microbrewery Festival!!!

The Union Mills Homestead a nationally recognized historic landmark will host the fourth annual Maryland Microbrewery Festival on September 26, 2009 from 11AM – 7PM. This fun-packed festival will celebrate and promote the best of Maryland’s handcrafted and distinctive microbrews. Come join the fun of Maryland's premier beer festival.

Price: Adult beer sampling $18 non beer sampling $5 kids under 12 free

Date: Saturday, September 26, 2009

Time: 11:00am - 7:00pm

Location: Union Mills Homestead, 3311 Littlestown Pike, Westminster, MD

Crofton Town Club Craft Fair

The Crofton Town Club twice-annual Craft Fair is coming around again!

Take a quick dip out to the burbs to see Sugar Paperie, tarabu, and more! Only a few miles south of Baltimore (what a great excuse to head to Annapolis for a late lunch!) the Crofton Town Club, is conveniently located on Crofton Parkway (I-97, to MD-3, to there!)
Whether you need to stock up on Holiday Cards - it's getting to be that time already, or pick up a quilt for the new baby in your life, the BEST suburban voyagers have you covered.

September 26, Saturday, 10am - 4pm
Address is 1691 Crofton Parkway, Crofton, MD 21114

Friday Finds: In the Library, with ...

No candle sticks, no Professor Plum, just great finds from Etsy...

Hide all your goodies in Lilimandrill secret compartment books.

Send a thank you from Simple Song Designs.

Jot down your thoughts in Picklehead's Bear Loves to Read journal.

Weigh down your in-box with Ephemeralogie's vintage library paper weight.

Or make a list of your "to reads" in TwoGuitars Bird Books.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

BEST Member Featured!

JumpSheep -- among the latest addition to BEST -- got a prominent mention in the “Get This!” section of SpinOff magazine’s Fall 2009 issue which hit newstands this week. This is the second media exposure of the fused glass pieces of JumpSheep, who also goes by the name of Therese. JumpSheep pendants debuted in the Summer issue of Knitty under “Cool Stuff!”.

You can read Therese’s blog on the features here.

Therese is no stranger to readers of SpinOff. She appeared in the Majacraft spinning wheels ad in the Fall ’06 to Spring ’07 issues.

CEK Custom Designs Featured!

BEST’s own CEK Custom Designs was featured in the YMI Jeans fashion blog. They do a feature each week called The Next Big Thing. CEK’s sterling silver scrap wrap ring was featured in the Get Scappy blog post.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

MAP: Curators Incubator Program Thursday

The Curators Incubator brings young curators under the wing of an experienced art organization to program inventive projects for the MAP galleries. On view through October 24 are the three projects designed by this year's curators. The first of four gallery talks happens This Thursday at MAP!

Janell Olah

2009 Featured Curators:
Shelly Blake-Plock: Art of the Set-Up: Sound Objects as Artifacts
Artists: Peter Blasser. Alessandro Bosetti. Andy Hayleck. Bonnie Jones. Melissa Moore. Mike Muniak.

Rachel Sitkin: In Our Nature: Artists Reflect on the Manmade Landscape
Artists: Kim Beck. Laura Cooperman. Michelle Hagewood. Alex Lukas. Igor Pasternak.

Margaret Winslow: Soft Space: Architecture in Contemporary Art
Artists: Ronald Longsdorf. Janell Olah. Stephen Ruszkowki.

Laura Cooperman

This Thursday there will be a gallery talk and sound art performance with curator Shelly Blake-Plock and John Berndt and Art of the Set-Up artists. The program starts at 6 p.m. on Thursday, September 24. Gallery talks by the other two curators will follow in October.

For more details and info on additional programs visit the MAP Web site!

My Three Things

Anyone who lived in the D.C. area during the '80s and '90s remembers the great old radio station WHFS and Weasel the DJ. Weasel had a daily feature called "My Three Songs"; in this game, he would present three songs that had a common thread, theme, or leitmotif, and the object was for the listeners to guess what it was.

Here are three items by Etsy artists. What do they have in common? Give your answer in the comments below!

Dina Alexander Fine Jewelry

Sqrl & Bee Studios


Written by Leslie of Designs By Leslie

Ten Question Tuesday - Get Ready Set Go

Hello! Who are you? Give us the 411 about yourself.
i'm a 29 year-old girl with a head completely FULL. born and raised in the suburbs of detroit, michigan now living on the east coast of florida- a place i never thought i'd end up.
to say i am tactile is an understatement... i do my best creating when music is playing. i need photography, coffee, and a place to put my art.

When/how did you start your business?
honestly, it just fell in my lap in early 2008. For as long as I can remember I've been drawing or writing- putting things together that make sense to me. I always had a journal and made "scrapbooks" but they were never anything like what you'd normally refer to as a scrapbook. A piece of a photo cut into three pieces with the lyrics from a song laced throughout the cracks and a random poem sketched below...Or maybe it was random designs I had drawn while listening to music and thinking about life. I never knew what I wanted to be "when I grew up". It was always changing and nothing ever sounded like just the right fit for me. I took college classes a semester here and there but nothing ever stuck. I loved to learn but it always seemed as the semester drew to a close that my notebooks were filled up with ideas, drawings, pictures I had to take because I was itching with an idea. I never had a place to put all of myself. I don't know if that makes sense but I really can't describe it any better. When etsy came along it was super exciting then disappointing then exciting. I had started my own photography business, shooting mostly candid kids- photographic narratives- real things etc. I started by attempting to sell some of my prints on etsy- It was pretty miserable. nothing sold- it was too big of a field. I'm a crazy knitter- super tactile- & fidgety so when I learned to knit at age 22 it was like having air put back in my lungs. I had just gone through a very traumatic time in my life, one I thought I'd never make it through alive. my anxiety levels were through the roof so knitting helped to calm me down, to focus on something else. Well, you can only knit your friends and family so many hats and scarves. I had piles of stuff in plastic tubs so I decided to start a second shop and sell my knits. again, a reallllllly hard thing to sell because there were/are so many people out there doing the same thing that are well established. Let's just say I opened 2 other shops, which are no more until finally I found something I hadn't seen on etsy. So I picked it up and RAN WITH IT! I loved the colors and the make and the story behind vintage luggage. and like I've said so many times- each piece is like a blank canvas. And it's not like every square inch of the piece needs to be covered. sometimes a simple quote and small piece of artwork gives a bag or case a whole new meaning for whoever decides to buy it. this is probably far too long of an answer so on to the next question I go!

Apart from creating things, what do you do?
i am a wife and oldest sister to 4 amazing siblings. this is my focus outside of running the luggage lunatic shop:)

What first made you want to become an artist?
i don't think you "choose" to be an artist. i've been one for as long as i can remember. the need to create is a desire deep inside my bones

What inspires you?
it's in everything i hear and see. music inspires me, the random moments of life that i find myself compelled to photograph, the things in life we miss because we're too busy running forward, passing the scenery without looking at it or taking the time to reflect on it.

What's your favorite thing about your craft?
getting a new design in my head, being able to put it to use on a piece of luggage and then taking a fantastic photo of it. THAT makes me super satisfied!

Where would we most likely find you working?
in the office of our (me and my husband) 3 bedroom home with music blaring. i love to be at home. my office walls and bookshelves are filled with things that inspire me- i need to be surrounded by lots of color, lamps and my christmas lights which i keep up year-round.

What's your favorite music to listen to while you work?
oh no, that is not a question i can answer. my father would be disappointed in the way he raised me if i could actually answer that question. my music collection is a bit on the side of extreme but i will give you a list of my favorite artists- it's long so be prepared:
ANNIE STELA. JEREMY ENIGK. SUNNY DAY REAL ESTATE. THE FIRE THEFT. ELLIOTT SMITH. JEFF BUCKLEY. BEATLES. AARON SPRINKLE. JARS OF CLAY. RADIOHEAD. EISLEY. BRIGHT EYES. AZURE RAY/MARIA TAYLOR. RAY LAMONTAGNE. SUFJAN STEVENS. JOSHUA RADIN. BAT FOR LASHES. WESLEY JENSEN. OWEN. DECEMBERISTS. album leaf. alex lloyd. alexi murdoch. andrew bird. ani difranco. arcade fire. badly drawn boy. band of horses. beck. belasco. bell x1. ben folds & his five. ben harper. ben lee. bjork. broken social scene. bruce springsteen. buddy. CAKE. camera obscura. cat power. cat stevens. chris isaak. coldplay. copeland. david byrne. david gray. david mead. damien rice. death cab. eels. the elected. emerson hart. feist. fionn regan. frou frou. fruit bats. gary jules. gomez. guster. interpol. iron & wine. james taylor. jefferson airplane. jenny lewis. jimmy eat world-clarity. joe purdy. john lennon. johnny cash. joni mitchell. jose gonzalez. joseph arthur. jump little children. kashmir. kathleen edwards. kent. lovedrug. martha wainwright. massive attack. matt pond pa. midlake. morrissey. nada surf. the national. neil young. nirvana. ours. patrick park. paul simon. paul westerberg. pearl jam. pedro the lion. the perishers. pete yorn. pilotdrift. pinback. pixies. placebo. portishead. postal service. queens of the stone age. red house painters. regina spektor. reindeer section. rem. remy zero. rilo kiley. roni size. rufus wainwright. ryan adams. shins. simon n garfunkel. smiths. snow patrol. south. stars. stephanie dosen. sundays. sunset rubdown. tegan & sara. thom yorke. tim seely. toad the wet sprocket. tori amos. travis. trespassers william. van morrison- astral weeks. weezer. wilco. wolf parade..... and many many more.

What's your favorite thing right now?
life and appreciating everything i have. i recently lost my best friend that i've known since i was 11. he passed away in july and it's really shook me. every day is a gift they say right? well it's SOOO true. i've got the most amazing husband who supports me in ALL that i do and we've been married for just over 6 years. right now i've really been digging on that- i am so incredibly lucky to have him in my life. he really just amazes me.

If you could have one wish granted for the craft community, what would it be?
hmmmmm, more exposure. loads and loads of it! there are so many talented people in this world making the most amazing, unique and eco-friendly things. i really wish more people would start to buy from these fantastic artisans!

See more of Rachel's super cool work in her Etsy shop!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Park Heights Mural Dedication

You might remember this mural from my two-part progress reports back in early summer... well, now its time to officially welcome it to the neighborhood with a community celebration!

Please join Sinai Hospital and the Park Heights Community Health Alliance (and me!) for the dedication of a new building mural commemorating Sinai's 50th anniversary in Northwest Baltimore and its involvement in the community.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009 at 2pm
Mural dedication at the corner of Park Heights and Boarman Avenue, with refreshments to follow!
(take 83 north to Cold Spring West, left on Pimlico and right on Boarman)

For more information, contact Jill Bloom at 410-601-5025

I can't wait to celebrate my most recent public labor or love.
Hope to see you there!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Tutorial- Love to Label

It's good to label your products. Technically, you have to label your products. And on top of all the marketing, paperwork, bookkeeping and shop updating you already do, labeling can feel like that proverbial straw that does you in. Thankfully, there's some great advice from folks who've been there and done that pretty well in the Etsy Forums. And if you look hard enough, you can actually find some really generous sellers with good links and useful tips to make the process a little less daunting.

The following is from Etsy seller Barking Dog Designs Flickr album...

The top woven label was ordered from Everest Label.

The type on the bottom cloth label was typeset with InDesign, but any word processing or page layout program would work as well. The "Do Not Wash" symbol was drawn in Illustrator and imported. The label was printed on my inkjet printer using June Tailor Colorfast Sew-In Inkjet Fabric Sheets. The sheets are made of white woven cloth and are available at JoAnn's in a 10-pack.

The content label measures 1" wide x 2-13/16" long. When folded, the label measures 1" wide x about 1-7/16" long. There is 1/4" allowance at the top and bottom for sewing into the seam. After the label has been sewn into the seam, the visible portion is only about 1-1/8" long (about the size of a quarter). The labels are easily cut apart with a straightedge and a rotary cutter.

The RN (Registered Identification Number), obtained free of charge from the Federal Trade Commission, takes the place of the company name and address to conserve space. The number below the RN is my Stuffed Toy License registration number which is required to sell stuffed toys in the states of Pennsylvania and Ohio. The month and year change according to the production date of the finished items.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Stone Fence Gardens Annual Arts & Crafts Festival

It's a busy weekend for BEST members, and seems to be turning in to the unofficial start to the fall season.

If you heed the call to 'Go West, young woman', tarabu invites you to head out to Stone Fence Gardens in Thurmont, MD this weekend for the annual fall Arts & Crafts Festival.

Located forty-five miles west of downtown Baltimore (take I-70 out of town, turn north at Frederick), Thurmont, MD is home to excellent leaf-peeping and apple cider. Stone Fence Gardens is home to camping, living history events, a native american gift shop, and year round music.

This weekend's event will include local artists, food and drink, live music from 11-5 on Saturday and 1-4 on Sunday, and free pony rides. And there's no admission! So fill half your gas tank, pack the mad money and come out for the fabulous weather, the music and the shopping - It's going to be a beautiful day!

September 19-20; Saturday and Sunday, 10am - 5pm each day
Address is 6610 Mountaindale Road, Thurmont, MD 21788

Friday Finds- BEST Crafty Bastards

Who is the Craftiest Bastard? You decide! Vote here for one of your favorite BEST members for the prestigious title Craftiest Bastard! For a complete list of crafty Bastard vendors click here.

Beth Pohlman Jewelry

Block Party Press

Dandelion Blu Jewelry


Sweet Pepita

The Broken Plate Pendant Co.

The Garbologist's Wife

The Littlest Bean



Washington City Paper and Urban Outfitters want you to vote for your favorite Crafty Bastard! All 2009 vendors are in the running for Craftiest Bastard of 2009. The three vendors with the most votes cast in their favor will be awarded one of the following prizes:

Grand Prize: $500 gift certificate to Urban Outfitters + Winner Promotion in one City Paper 1/4 page print ad + 1 Crafty Bastards eblast

2nd Place: Washington City Paper advertising ($500 value)

3rd Place: Crafty Bastards prize pack filled with City Paper goodies

Votes may be cast online until Sunday, October 4. Online voting is limited to one vote per email address. Anyone may use the various widgets provided to encourage others to vote. Votes may also be cast in person at the Crafty Bastards festival on Saturday, October 3rd. There will be ballot boxes located at the City Paper booths and other locations on site.